web farm hardware requirements

Posted on 2007-08-09
Last Modified: 2013-11-05
I have a web application that uses a single IIS web site. I want to provide an environment that will allow for growth yet not be overkill. What I want to do/host in my web app and my basic specs, are as follows:

IIS web application deployed in a web farm
SQL 2K5 server deployed in some sort of clustered or fail over environment
The database server will hold up to 500 database that are likely not to exceed 100MG in size

Basically, I'm confused on the wide variety of processors I can get in a dedicated server and the wide range of cost. Singles, duals, single/multicore, dual multicore, etc.  I want my application to be very responsive, but at max there are likely never going to be more than 2000 individual users and not all using it at the same time.

Other questions......
Do I need load balancing?
software firewall or go to the extra cost for hardware?
How much RAM? I currently have all the application on a single dual xeon box with 4GB of ram and it works quite well. Do I get lower RAM or CPU on the web server and higher on the SQL box?

Anyway, those are my general questions on the subject.
Question by:pauldes
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Most server come with a dual nic, that can be use as a team to increace
                         Adapter Fault Tolerance
    ·      Adaptive Load Balancing
    ·      Static Link Aggregation
    ·      IEEE 802.3ad Dynamic Link Aggregation
    ·      Switch Fault Tolerance
    a few options..  the second part to that is a switch that will handle that.
    you can always put another 2 nics which will give you 4 in total.
    Firewall go with hardware cisco is the way to go.
    Most of the Dual CPU will be sufficient for this to work well.

    4 gig is a lot of memory, you will not be able to get more since you it's dependent on the OS you are going to run.  win server 2003 r2, win sbs 2003 standard will only give you 3.4 gig windows does not see the whole 4 gig of memory. if you go to win server 2003 enterprise will allow more memory but does it justify the cost?

    Then have a look at the storage and backup which is very importent.
    LVL 34

    Expert Comment

    How much processing is actually done on the web site vs. the backend database?  Is the fron-end primarily just display of data from the database or is there actual work going on as well?

    Dave Dietz

    Author Comment

    There is a bit of work, but it's primarily a database driven web site. All pages, components, etc are data driven
    LVL 34

    Accepted Solution

    That being the case you can use much lower end hardware for the web server tier and beef up the DB tier.

    With 2000 users you can get away with a single web server for the front-end although I would suggest using two in a load balanced scenario if for nothing other than additional reliability.  Hardware - 1-2GB RAM and a low end Dual Core processor should fill you rneeds well.

    DB server - you can get two and cluster them for redundancy as well as some load balancing if you run SQL in Active-Active and spread the DB instances across the two (or more) machines.  I would suggest going with 4 cores (either 4 single or 2 dual) and the more memory you can pump into these the better.  Also if you manage 64-bit on the DB servers I think you wil be happy you did.

    As far as a firewall goes, I would suggest a hardware firewall between the web servers and the internet, and you might want to consider another between the web servers and the SQL servers.

    Dave Dietz

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